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Caring for very elderly parents in your retirement years

by Lindsey Nathan on 19 July 2018 15:30pm 2166

retired person caring for their parents

If you’re a pensioner looking after your elderly parents, you’re not alone. There has been a sharp rise in elderly people being cared for by their children, themselves at an age at which they might have expected care.

Seniors, in ever greater numbers, are caring for their more senior parents. The change has been triggered by an ageing population, caused by improvements to healthcare and lifestyles which have led to longer life expectancies. As much as a third of the country’s 6.5 million informal carers are aged 65 and over, while the number of those aged 75 and over has increased by 35% since 2001.

It’s estimated that two thirds of Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) have at least one living parent and many in this group find themselves torn between serving as caregivers for more than one family member.

Caring for more than one person

For some older carers, it’s not just their parents that they are tending to but also their own ageing spouse. In this case it’s even more important for them to consider their own needs to avoid reaching burn out point.

The Sandwich Generation

For the Baby Boomer generation their responsibilities don’t always stop there, with many also taking on childcare roles for their grandchildren; they are 'sandwiched' in the middle.

Although caregiving can be rewarding, it can also take its toll on the caregiver’s well-being. As Baby Boomers respond to the needs of their ageing parents, adult children and grandchildren they tend to neglect their own needs.

Tips for older carers

There are ways to care for your loved ones and still have your own time to enjoy your retirement. Here are a few recommendations to ensure that you look after your own well-being:

  • Draw up a list of people who can help you – this could include a local Home Helper
  • Coordinate tasks between other family members and friends
  • Develop a workable schedule
  • Set aside time for you
  • Try and do something relaxing daily even if it’s only for a brief time
  • Maintain contact with friends and relatives
  • Exercise, maintain a healthy diet and sleep pattern

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